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Locked Topic Opening selection according Erik Kislik (Read 9726 times)
Stigma
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #22 - 10/13/18 at 21:53:05
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ReneDescartes wrote on 10/13/18 at 18:35:36:
His "basic tactical work" is a massive, intensive study of tactics undertaken before 2100 that includes semi-difficult tactics and for which all of CT-Art 5 is a model. (I would ask, can a 1750-payer even understand all the solutions to all of CT-Art 5? CT-Art 3 or the equivalent book is famous for being used by masters to get up to IM-level calculation--and CT-Art 5 also includes what used to be the separate program "Studies.")

I have to agree. I found lots of useful points in Kislik's book, but on the target range of CT-Art he's way off the mark. I have been floating between 2100 and 2250 for 15 years now, and I'm still repeating level 40 of CT-Art, having hardly ever gone higher than level 50 (it goes up to level 90 - for some reason the levels are 10, 20, 30, ... instead of 1, 2, 3, ...). Still I don't feel tactical patterns are an especially weak part of my game, quite the contrary. The thing with tactics is there's a trend for the more difficult tactical patterns to occur more rarely in practice. So having easy-to-medium tactical patterns down cold can have more of an impact on practical results than mastering the rare and difficult.

I also see a clear pattern where I'm getting better results when I've had some repetition sessions with CT-Art in the last week before a tournament, so his assertion that there's no point going through these tactics again apart from one intensive period is also probably false (i.e. not generally true outside of his own experience).

As much as I like the book, Kislik's disorganized writing does make it difficult to make out what he's trying to say sometimes. I was criticized on another forum for misrepresenting him; among other things I had claimed that Kislik puts little emphasis on studying the classics, instead recommending study of top players from the 1970s forward, and also that he recommends only ever going through a book of difficult calculation exercises once. Well, I believe I took those points from the chapters I read, but maybe he says opposite things in the ~ half of the book I haven't read yet? It's not easy to distill the essential takeaways from this sort of messy writing.
  

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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #21 - 10/13/18 at 18:35:36
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Here is the passage on pp. 106-107, from the section on tactical training.

-------------------------------
"For players below 1800, I recommend using CT-Art 5.0 and trying to get all the patterns down....The diminishing returns are pretty heavy on basic tactical exercises. I have not gained much from simple tactical exercises since I was 2100....

"Speaking of basic positions in chess, I had a student of mine Google basic mates and found a few lists: one of them had 28 mates by name....You can easily make digital flashcards of ...28 basic mates--one day and you can be done...

"Basic tactics in chess should be learned quickly and systematically with a program or computer-checked books that are well-organized [e.g. CT-Art as opposed to online tactics servers--R.D.]. After doing this, most players will never really deal with basic tactics being a major weakness in their game. I did 2,000 mates from a book one summer and then moved on to solving a lot of semi-difficult tactics. I got good at looking for moves that beginning players are especially prone to missing. This kind of basic tactical work falls into the category of temporary chess training, as you only need to do it once. Then you can focus on more abstract concepts."
----------------------------

Kislik is a terrible writer. He interrupts thought A with thought B,  uses crucial words like "basic" in different senses in A and B, and then continues in such a way that the reader, without careful thought, will have trouble discerning whether the continuation and vocabulary are of thought A or of thought B. It is possible, however, through diligent application, to figure out what he means--truly, his book presents us with exercises in logic.

In this passage, he first applies the words "simple" and "basic" to tactics that a 2050 player might benefit from, then to a set of 28 named mates, then to 3-ply sequences in general, then to work on 2000 different mates and on "semi-difficult tactics"; to something that can be done in one day, then a moment later to something that requires an entire summer. In the passage as a whole, he first discusses work that a 1750 player is urged do ("getting down" all of CT-Art 5), then implies that a 2050 player might benefit from it, then switches to work that a beginner who has only played for 10 months can do, then goes back again to the harder kind of work, and finally referrs to all of it as "this kind of basic tactical training."

In context, it's clear that the comment on 28 checkmates to look up in an afternoon is not what he says is temporary chess training. His "basic tactical work" is a massive, intensive study of tactics undertaken before 2100 that includes semi-difficult tactics and for which all of CT-Art 5 is a model. (I would ask, can a 1750-payer even understand all the solutions to all of CT-Art 5? CT-Art 3 or the equivalent book is famous for being used by masters to get up to IM-level calculation--and CT-Art 5 also includes what used to be the separate program "Studies.")

As for Kasparov, the former world champion discussed how in the lead-up to the Kramnik match he was in the best tactical shape of his life, able to solve tactical problems presented by his computer "instantly." I imagine quite a few of these problems were at or below the level of more difficult CT-Art problems, many of which, after all, took famous grandmasters 30 minutes or more to work out at the board.

Kasparov's practice strikes me as normal. Kislik's position strikes me as bizarre, but here his assertion stands, right on p.107.
« Last Edit: 10/14/18 at 15:58:04 by ReneDescartes »  
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #20 - 10/12/18 at 22:39:50
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ReneDescartes wrote on 10/03/18 at 06:02:26:
On further consideration, I agree with MNb; the Tarrasch is even better than QGD here, especially since you can get a Tarrasch against nearly anything (but the QGD is classical and teaches good straightforward play, though in slow motion--unlike the French, which is difficult and has been essentially hypermodern since Botvinnik!)

Take what Kislik says with a grain of salt, though. I am greatly in sympathy with his main idea--that really understanding what is going on (which he calls"logic") is key, rather than, say, pure tactics; yet he confidently contradicts the instructional advice of renowned teachers such as Tarrasch, Euwe, Dvoretsky, Yusupov, and Botvinnik, and the training methods of players such as Fischer, Kasparov, and Kramnik. For example, Kislik says it is only necessary to study tactics once intensively, after which you'll have them for life (but Kasparov himself at his peak did rapid-fire drills of tactics problems before a world championship match); that studying endgames first, or many known positions a la de la Villla, is not a good idea (but most of the Soviet school did this); that solving studies is not very helpful (but a lot of CT-Art 5, which he recommends, is studies); that, aside from a quick playthrough of world-championship games, recent top grandmaster games and postwar game collections, rather than prewar classics, should be read and studied (contrary to the practice and advice of Karpov and Kramnik and Shereshevsky and the practice of Fischer); that it is a good use of one's time to to pore over difficult computer tactics until you see why they work; etc., etc. Kislik thinks for himself, fearlessly, and then expresses himself tactlessly, authoritatively; but then you in turn should not lend him any more authority than others with his level of experience. Consider a variety of sources, and try things out.

In particular, Kislik seems like a long-variation guy in his reading recommendations--he likes game collections from the computer era, such as those by Nunn, Kasparov, and Anand,  where the longest middlegame variation in a typical game routinely goes 10-30 moves deep, way beyond the almost universal maximum of 6-7 in a typical game of pre-computer collections. "Long variation, wrong variation," Larsen said; the 6-7- move limit is a strong indication that this is how most very strong human players think, anyway of what they think is worth communicating of it.

I personally like the opening advice you cited from Kislik, but common sense says to be skeptical of his more extreme views.


Where in the book does the author go against Kasparov or Dvoretsky's advice?

Also, I find it incredibly strange that you claim, "Kislik says it is only necessary to study tactics once intensively, after which you'll have them for life." I can't imagine the author would say that. What author ever says to study tactics once in your life and never again? What the author actually said was basic checkmates are an example of temporary study that you only need to study once, which is true. No grandmaster that the author mentioned said anything about solving basic mates in 1. It is just wrong to claim that the author thinks studying tactics once in your life is enough.
  
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #19 - 10/12/18 at 21:08:26
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Jupp53 wrote on 10/12/18 at 11:58:55:
Agreeing on a level above 1600. Disagreeing for beginners. They will grow and their opposition will and on this way they learn. The positional Scotch lines aren't played on a 1000 level and you will find them rarely till 1800. If there's a specialist in your club playing this you will learn it. I never met otb as a 40 year 1.e4 e5 player Kasparov's ideas from the white side opponents.

Well, I originally argued that beginners should play the open games because it's easier to get that experience when the opponents don't yet know much concrete theory either. So I don't think we disagree much at all.  Smiley
« Last Edit: 10/12/18 at 23:01:38 by Stigma »  

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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #18 - 10/12/18 at 11:58:55
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Stigma wrote on 10/09/18 at 00:43:12:
I agree the sharpest Sicilians are another set of openings you shouldn't play with Black without good preparation. But I have played more solid Sicilians like the Kan and the Accelerated Dragon and rarely faced White club level players who were well-prepared. The same has been true when I've tried more offbeat defences like the Pirc, the Modern, Alekhine's or Nimzowitsch'.

While allowing a White specialist to play his favorite King's Gambit, Evans Gambit, Max Lange, Vienna Game etc. without a good answer prepared is a recipe for disaster. I'm also surprised you include the Scotch in the openings where the moves are "logical and easy to find" - that's not my impression at all. The Scotch contains lots of unique and weird positions and is fraught with danger for both sides, again requiring good preparation.


Agreeing on a level above 1600. Disagreeing for beginners. They will grow and their opposition will and on this way they learn. The positional Scotch lines aren't played on a 1000 level and you will find them rarely till 1800. If there's a specialist in your club playing this you will learn it. I never met otb as a 40 year 1.e4 e5 player Kasparov's ideas from the white side opponents.
  

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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #17 - 10/10/18 at 09:18:11
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Stigma wrote on 10/09/18 at 00:43:12:
While allowing a White specialist to play his favorite King's Gambit, Evans Gambit, Max Lange, Vienna Game etc. without a good answer prepared is a recipe for disaster.


With a good or even normal answer prepared, it can be a recipe for success. Devotees of relatively off beat lines get to play them so rarely that they forget the main line theory.

Many players of 1. e4 e5 at lower standards will just play something like 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 d6 5. Nf6 Nc3. Top GMs are now attempting to uncover what the interesting ideas are in such positions.

At the level of 1600 players, 1. e4 e5 2. f4 can be lethal as players with Black have neither the technique or the knowledge to defend it decently.


  
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #16 - 10/10/18 at 00:11:05
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Stigma wrote on 10/09/18 at 00:43:12:
I agree the sharpest Sicilians are another set of openings you shouldn't play with Black without good preparation. But I have played more solid Sicilians like the Kan and the Accelerated Dragon and rarely faced White club level players who were well-prepared. The same has been true when I've tried more offbeat defences like the Pirc, the Modern, Alekhine's or Nimzowitsch'.


I used to play the Kan without much preparation also, so I can't argue with that.  It amazed me the number of strong players who would push e5 in some lines only to lose the pawn to ...Qa5+.  The Kan itself was fine, but you need to know how to play against stuff like the Closed, Grand Prix, etc, which a lot of club players specialise in and can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing because white often has an attack that more or less plays itself if you don't react correctly. 

Stigma wrote on 10/09/18 at 00:43:12:
While allowing a White specialist to play his favorite King's Gambit, Evans Gambit, Max Lange, Vienna Game etc. without a good answer prepared is a recipe for disaster. I'm also surprised you include the Scotch in the openings where the moves are "logical and easy to find" - that's not my impression at all. The Scotch contains lots of unique and weird positions and is fraught with danger for both sides, again requiring good preparation.


I think playing any opening with no knowledge at all can be a recipe for disaster - there's always something like the Smith-Morra or the fantasy variation or the blackmar diemer or whatever that has its followers. 

The Scotch is a lot of work if you go for the 4... Nf6 main lines, but 4... Bc5 and 4... Bb4 are pretty straightforward if you ask me.  The structures you get, where white has a pawn on e4, and black has played exd4 and bxc6, are pretty basic open game structures that you see in a lot of classical games (they come up a lot in the old Steinitz defence that everyone used to play circa 1910).
  
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #15 - 10/09/18 at 23:06:56
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What does Kislik actually say? I looked closely, and his ideas seem to be a bit different from all of ours! It's not at all easy to figure out what he means--not exactly a tribute to his writing--but here's a close reading, with some support from the text.

When he says that for the "very earliest stages" of learning he would recommend using opening "systems" that develop your pieces and get you out to 7 or 8 moves intact with a reasonable middlegame in prospect, he's  thinking not of the  London or KIA (for what is such a safe system for Black against 1.e4?--only the Pirc/Modern or English Defense, conceding the center, which Kislik can hardly intend for absolute beginners) but of something like "...e5, knights on f6 and c6, bishop on c5, pawn on d6, castle, bishop on g4 if possible, queen up a square and rooks to the center." Up to 1400--he's unclear about whether that is stronger than the abovementioned level--he recommends bypassing the opening phase entirely with sensible developing moves. To me, this sounds like Heisman's advice to just get your pieces mobilized toward the center without moving anything twice and without losing material. Kislik apparently includes moving rooks to central files even if nothing is open yet. The meaning of "bypassing" would then be skipping over studying specific opening sequences entirely. This fits in nicely with the advice for absolute beginners.

Beyond this, moving toward 1600, he advises acquiring a "compact, consistent" repertioire. This almost certaintly does not mean the London, KIA, etc. because he advises learning something that you will not have to alter until you are at 2000. "Consistent," in light of his story about wasting time researching refutations of d-pawn specials, must refer to maintaining similar themes against, e.g., 1.d4 2.c4 and the d-pawn specials--for example, an early ...d5 and ...e6 in all cases (a la Ntirlis), or an early ...d5 and ...c5 in all cases (a la Tarrasch). "Compact" is probably to be understood relative to his advice to experts and above, which is to learn two major, maximally-reputable opening systems and play at least one main line in each. He says that a learner should first learn all the major traps for both sides--this gives an idea of what he might think about learning the Open Games as an already-competent player (hint: he advises work).

Regarding the character of the openings to be recommended,  for under 2000 he advocates playing relatively error-resistant openings where, unlike in the KID, he says, you won't often lose because of a single unobvious bad move, and where the strategic plans can be grasped and handled decently without a lot of sophistication. He mentions the Tartakower QGD in this connection. His main point is that losing a tournament game due to one bad opening move is not very instructive. For maximal improvement, he recommends entering the great systems that are richest in major strategic themes, naming the Nimzo and the Spanish. He also says that learning and playing main lines is very educational and that worrying about a refutation or novelty in a main line is not a significant problem below master level. Regarding the French, he comments that in order to play it well even as a master, you have to specialize in it and really come to understand it, leaving no room to play a second system; if he thinks this of high-level players (as the two-system reference implies), it probably means that he thinks it's too hard for 1600s to understand the French--though this point, like so much else, is unclear. Regarding the Dutch and the Budapest, he thinks little of them--and so too probably of the Alekhine, Albin, English Defense, Tango, etc.

Putting this all together, I get something like the following as a repertoire for Black, 0-2100, consistent with Kislik's advice:

(1)Up to 1000, against 1.e4 play ...Nc6, ...Nf6, ...Bc5, ...d6,   ...O-O, ...Bxx, ...Qxx, ...Rd8 and/or ...Re8, say with a sequence against Scholar's Mate and if necessary...d5/Na5 against the Fegatello (2) do not study these further, but just develop completely and sensibly up to 1400 (3) on the way to 1600, put in some serious opening work, understanding a set of Open Game lines with ...d5, declining gambits or quickly returning pawns; one main line and early deviations in the Spanish; the QGD Tarkakower; and ...d5/...e6 lines against d-pawn specials--playing all these up to 2000 (4) add in single main lines (main-line complexes) and anti-antis of a second major opening system--say, the Nimzo/Bogo and the Caro--at some point after 1800 in order to have two systems.
« Last Edit: 10/10/18 at 21:43:07 by ReneDescartes »  
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #14 - 10/09/18 at 00:43:12
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I agree the sharpest Sicilians are another set of openings you shouldn't play with Black without good preparation. But I have played more solid Sicilians like the Kan and the Accelerated Dragon and rarely faced White club level players who were well-prepared. The same has been true when I've tried more offbeat defences like the Pirc, the Modern, Alekhine's or Nimzowitsch'.

While allowing a White specialist to play his favorite King's Gambit, Evans Gambit, Max Lange, Vienna Game etc. without a good answer prepared is a recipe for disaster. I'm also surprised you include the Scotch in the openings where the moves are "logical and easy to find" - that's not my impression at all. The Scotch contains lots of unique and weird positions and is fraught with danger for both sides, again requiring good preparation.
« Last Edit: 10/09/18 at 04:06:49 by Stigma »  

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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #13 - 10/09/18 at 00:28:57
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Stigma wrote on 10/08/18 at 20:30:16:
For club players who have never played Open games, it only becomes harder and harder to take them up with time. To play 1.e4 e5 with Black successfully, even at normal club level, requires knowing a bit about many different lines, many of them sharp gambits that will lead to quick defeats if you don't know what you're doing. And the opponents are likely specialists on their particular attacking lines. I don't feel the same applies to other defences like the Sicilian, French, Caro, Pirc/Modern etc. to the same extent - you can often try them out before you know all the theory and still get playable positions on club level.


I don't know about that.  Most of my quickest wins with white have been against people playing sharp sicilians without much idea what they're doing.  Also, I don't think I've ever seen anyone get a good position playing the Modern.

Most of the gambits you get in the open games have some straightforward solution you can easily learn - usually involving ...d5 at the earliest opportunity and giving the pawn back.  Against the normal stuff (Ruy, Italian, Scotch, 4Ns, Vienna) the moves tend to be logical and easy to find.  I started playing open games after a 10 year break from chess, without knowing much theory, against 1800+ opponents, and to be honest, I am not losing much sleep over the belgrade gambit or the halloween gambit or whatever.  You can go 30 years and never see them once.  Besides, there are a ton of wacky gambits for white in the french and sicilian as well (I have fond memories of duffing a guy up at Hastings with the Diemer-Duhm gambit).

The only thing that ever made me consider giving up the open games was the exchange Ruy, and not because it was too sharp!
  
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #12 - 10/08/18 at 20:30:16
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Laramonet wrote on 10/07/18 at 17:27:46:
Noticing people starting out in club chess or having played for a while and being below 1600, I see a lot of people playing the French, I think through fear of the tactics involved in the open games. There's nothing wrong with the French but it must be right to try open games first.

For club players who have never played Open games, it only becomes harder and harder to take them up with time. To play 1.e4 e5 with Black successfully, even at normal club level, requires knowing a bit about many different lines, many of them sharp gambits that will lead to quick defeats if you don't know what you're doing. And the opponents are likely specialists on their particular attacking lines. I don't feel the same applies to other defences like the Sicilian, French, Caro, Pirc/Modern etc. to the same extent - you can often try them out before you know all the theory and still get playable positions on club level.

I think that's a good reason it's recommended to play 1.e4 e5 when you start out: Everybody should have experience with open games, and it's a lot harder to get that experience later on. Beginners play mostly opponents who are themselves beginners, so you get open games where both sides don't know much concrete theory, which is fine.

I know some general 1.e4 e5 theory, largely because I've worked with children's chess for a number of years. But still when I'vve tried out 1.e4 e5 in blitz I get killed by all those dangerous pet lines from even much weaker players, and my rating performance drops maybe 500 points. Not very tempting...

I have vowed to one day add 1.e4 e5 to my repertoire, but when I finally do you can bet I will have prepared it in painstaking detail, to avoid such disasters.
  

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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #11 - 10/07/18 at 17:27:46
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Most recommendations for a player's early career come down to open games i.e. 1.e4 as white and 1.e4 e5 and 1.d4 d5 as black. I wish somebody had told me earlier ! I did play e5 back to e4 early on but this was mixed in with the Najdorf and French before I found Silman's old book on the Kalashnikov. I had played for 15 years before I choose e4 e5 for its benefits to my game !
Noticing people starting out in club chess or having played for a while and being below 1600, I see a lot of people playing the French, I think through fear of the tactics involved in the open games. There's nothing wrong with the French but it must be right to try open games first. I also see a lot of the attitude "I would play the QGD but isn't it too defensive ?". I always recommend trying it, or the Tarrasch, first as a "universal" set-up against everything other than 1.e4.
  
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #10 - 10/07/18 at 04:46:54
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"As a player under 1400, the most practical opening strategy is to try to bypass the opening phase by getting your basic development completed in a sensible way to achieve playable positions you can learn from." (Erik Kislik)

I interpreted this advice as something similar to what John Watson recommended near the end of Mastering the Chess Openings; Volume 4. Watson has a section on opening selection and for category D which is for beginners and "relatively inexperienced players" he recommends "openings in which the play can be clarified at an early stage often with a degree of simplification."

He suggests e4 as white. He mentions a line of the c3 Sicilian, the French exchange, the Caro-Kann exchange, and mentions multiple options vs. e5 (most involve an early d4 from white. Against 1.e4 he prefers e5 for this level of player. He suggests the Classical Spanish and other less complex variations against all of white's tries (he suggests reading his volume 1 for suggestions here). He suggests the QGD or alternatively the Tarrasch "if you feel confident about your handling of open positons."

Notably, he recommends avoiding playing the Colle or King's Indian Attack as white. To his mind, they are only temporary ways to get out of the opening while you prepare to play more open positions.

Kislik's advice on players under 1600 also may mirror Watson's advice for category C players (club players below 1700 elo). This section from Watson is a bit long to summarize, but take a look at Watson if you have the book and you are interested in the topic.

  
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #9 - 10/06/18 at 09:25:04
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"I'm pretty sure Tiger Chess is run by GM Nigel Davies rather than GM John Nunn...."

Yes, of course.
My fault.
  
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Re: Opening selection according Erik Kislik
Reply #8 - 10/06/18 at 08:31:39
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emary wrote on 10/06/18 at 00:43:42:
I think this is a very solid first repertoire.

It's highly ironical that you back this up with a reference to a book called Attacking Chess: The French. Two quotes from this book: "I have tried to pick the most aggressive, exciting and sound variations that are playable for Black." That description would nicely fit several ultra sharp Open Sicilians. "Black plays both the ...c5 and ...f6 breaks. This often leads to some very interesting and double-edged positions. Black will often castle queenside, whilst White will often castle kingside." Not exactly "very solid".
Also notice that Williams actually agrees with me: "The light-squared bishop can easily remain a bad one throughout the game." Which is exactly what I expect from Black when taking up the French (and QGD) as a first repertoire and is confirmed by msiipola with "I always get bad positions".
As for the Fort Knox I recommend anyone who plays it as a first repertoire to pray that White won't play it like ..... GM Williams: 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.Qe2 Ngf6 8.Neg5!? Bxf3 9.Qxf3. White has the pair of bishop and fine attacking chances. It should be part of a first-reperoire for White.
You recommend beginners to start crawling in chess and hence never learn to run. I'll stick to IM Botterill. Study tactics and play openings that don't require to solve the problem of some ill-placed piece for the first 15 moves or solve it by handing over the pair of bishops in a faiirly open position at the first opportunity.

Jupp53 wrote on 10/03/18 at 20:22:37:
If you want to learn you have to play gambits to learn when, where and how to attack. Learning is fun. Losing is the way to get better, if you analyze your games.

I agree that modernized romantic stuff like the Itallian/Scottish gambits in general is the most effective way. However for some (and I've meet some) this doesn't work properly. Hence the Colle-Zukertort is my second recommednation: place all your pieces on decent squares and then open the position with c4 and e4. Tactics will pop up quickly.
But it remains a backup.
  

The book had the effect good books usually have: it made the stupids more stupid, the intelligent more intelligent and the other thousands of readers remained unchanged.
GC Lichtenberg
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